Stakeholders in the health sector have called on media practitioners to bridge the gap in the health sector by engaging in investigative Journalism.
The Chief Executive Officer, International Society of Media in Public Health, Chief Moji Makanjuola stated this at the 4th Annual Health Conference of Association of Nigeria Health Journalist, with the theme “COVID-19 reportage assessment” in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
She added that in the era of COVID-19 pandemic, media practitioners should engage in deep investigative stories.
“As Journalist, we need to be more creative and engage in writing special reports. We do not have to depend only on news from the Presidential Task Force Team on COVID-19. We should spread our tentacles, and go into rural communities and engage in development stories that will change the narrative.”
Chief Makanjuola, charged the health reporters to be the gatekeeper in the society, by posting accurate information to the public.
“As media practitioners, we should not engage in spreading fake news, but rather disseminate accurate information to the public. Journalists also need to adhere to the basic COVID-19 guidelines and procedures. We should always practice what we preach to the public. The media plays a great role in the delivery of health care system in the country”.
The World Health Organization Communications Specialist, Charity Warigon, commended the health journalist for the different news stories written during the COVID-19 pandemic. While noting that there is still room for improvement in the way news are being reported in the health sector.
“I want you all to be creative when writing your report, there are so many issues out there that Journalist can shed more light in the society. It is also very important that as you engage in your daily activities, you should observe the basic protocols and guidelines about COVID-19. Do not expose yourselves unnecessarily in the course of your assignment”.
ANHEJ Board Chairman. Mr Godwin Odemijie, said through the input of Journalist, the health sector in Nigeria has improved greatly.
He urged the Journalist to put in extra effort when filing their report, and show high sense of commitment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a whole lot of change into the world at large. The media practitioner must be abreast of new development. People no longer gather for press conference, but rather hold virtual conference. We must not be left behind, and learn to do the right thing”.
ANHEJ President, Mr Hassan Zaggi, highlighted that the association will continue to work with the public and major stakeholders in the health sector.
He said Journalist was sending out report during the pandemic, at the expense of their health.
“By my own assessment, the Journalist did their very best during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and also worked closely with the media team of different organizations, health institute and critical stakeholders in the health sectors to ensure that people are well informed.”